Twin talk takes team to national debating final

Friday 28 April 2017

The future of debating looks bright at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL), with a Year 8 team coming out on top against debaters two years their senior.

Twins Oliver and William Law will be competing at the final of a major international debating competition at the Cambridge Union this weekend. The International Competition for Young Debaters (ICYD) is aimed at students in Year 10 and below, encouraging younger students to get started in debating with motions appropriate for their age group. The tournament is hosted alternately by the Oxford and Cambridge Unions.

The 12-year-old twins broke through to the final at last month’s regional round in Manchester. Although they were runners up in the regional final they earned enough speaker points to progress, despite competing against teams of students aged up to 15.

William explained how they got into debating, saying: “At our old school we liked having heated discussions with our friends, with mixed response, so when we came to GSAL we joined Junior Debating Club and enjoyed it straight away. We watched sixth form do mock debates which were really good.”

Having debated on challenging topics ranging from compulsory voting to prison sentencing and the refugee crisis, the twins know that they need to be on top of the national and international news agenda.

Oliver said: “You have to think on your feet as you only get the motion 15 minutes before the debate. The topics are mostly in the news so we can think about what might come up and practise at home.”

Having gone to the regional final without expecting to progress, William said: “We honestly thought it was going to be a good experience but nothing would happen. We were shocked to break through to the final and will really enjoy it whatever happens. We’ll do our best!”


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